Chapter IV The Esquires Of The Body: Chastity

How to Rule the Appetites.––We have seen how each of the Appetites––Hunger, Thirst, Restlessness, Rest––is a good body-servant, and how the work of each is to build up and refresh the body. We have seen, too, how a life may be ruined by each of these so innocent-seeming appetites if it be allowed to get the mastery. To save ourselves from this fate, we must eat, drink, sleep, at regular times, and then not allow ourselves to think of taking our ease, of dainty things to eat, of nice things to drink, in the intervals. We should always have something worth while to think about, that we may not let our minds dwell upon unworthy matters.

Each Appetite has its Time.––There is another Appetite which is subject to the same rules as those we have considered. It has its time like eating and sleeping, but its time is not until people are married. Just as eating, drinking, and sleeping are designed to help to make us strong, healthy, and beautiful bodies, so this other Appetite is meant to secure that people shall have children, so that there will always be people in the world, young people growing up as old people pass away. This Appetite is connected with a certain part of the body; and I should not speak about it now, only that one of the great duties we have in the world is to keep this part of the body pure. It is just like that tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil planted in the Garden of Eden.

Uncleanness.––You remember that Adam and Eve were not to take thereof, or they should surely die; and then, you remember how the tempter came and told Eve that they should not die if they took of it, but should be like gods, knowing good and evil. Well, just in the same way, I fear, you may find tempters who will do their best to make you know about things you ought not to know about, to talk about and read about and do things you ought not to talk about, or read about, or do. I daresay they will tell you these things are quite right, that you would not have such parts of your body and such feelings about them unless you were meant to think and do these things. Now it will help you to know that this is the sin of Uncleanness, the most deadly and loathsome of all sins, the sin that all nice men and women hate and shrink from more than from any other.

Purity.––The opposite virtue is called Purity, and Christ has said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." That does not mean, I think, 'shall see God' when they die, but 'shall see' Him with the eye of their soul, about them and beside them, and shall know, whenever temptation comes through this Appetite––'Thou, God, seest me.' That thought will come home to them, so that they will not be able to make themselves unclean by even a thought or a word. They will turn away their eyes from beholding evil; they will not allow themselves to read, or hear, or say a word that should cause impure thoughts.

Glorify God in your Bodies.––Thus they will glorify God in their bodies. Every boy or girl who realises this is a hero in the sight of God, is fighting a good fight, and is making the world better. When the pure marry, their children will be blessed, for they will be good, healthy, and happy, because they have pure parents. Remember that God puts before each of us in this matter the choice between good and evil, obedience and disobedience, which he put before Adam and Eve. They sinned, and death entered into the world. And so surely as you allow yourself in this sin of Uncleanness, even to think a thought which you could not go straight and tell your mother, death begins in you, death of body and soul. Fight the good fight, and do not let yourself, like our first parents, be the victim of unholy curiosity.

The Appetites our Servants, not our Masters.––Let each of the Appetites, so necessary to our bodies, be our servant and not our master, and remember, above all things, that sin and slavery to any Appetite begin in our thoughts. It is our thoughts that we must rule, and the way to rule them is very simple. We just have to think of something else when an evil thought comes, something really interesting and nice, with a prayer in our hearts to God to help us to do so.